"Edmonton Theme," kitschy 1995 ode to the city, finds new life on the internet
Annabelle Santos-Dookie now works as a foot doctor in Florida
Tucked away in a quiet corner of the internet is an ode to the city few Edmontonians have ever heard.
It's a curious song; uploaded to SoundCloud under the moniker Edmonton Theme, it has all the trappings of the eighties, with synthesized beats, cheesy crescendos and a boisterous horn section.
A female voice praises Edmonton with kitschy, syncopated lyrics like:
"Edmonton, a clean, friendly ci-ty. It's so safe and so bright you can walk late at night with your famil-y.
"Come to Alberta and see Ed-mon-ton, a great rendezvous is waiting for you."
The song has been swapped around on social media sites for years, but its origins have been shrouded in mystery, until now.
The voice belongs to Edmonton's Annabelle Santos-Dookie, who now works as a foot doctor in Florida.
"It's still embarrassing, but not as embarrassing as it was then," said Santos-Dookie with a groan during a Thursday morning interview on Edmonton AM.
She was only 15 years old when she recorded the song back in 1995.
"There was this producer from the Philippines, an older guy, and he said, 'Let's make an album.'"
The synthesized melody was already composed by the time the producer arrived in Edmonton.
Unfamiliar with the English language, he needed help putting words to the music. In the end, Santos-Dookie says a good family friend was recruited to write the lyrics.
"The problem wasn't so much with the lyrics, but the music. The songs all sounded the same. it was all synthesized. I mean, it's pretty cheesy."
Santos-Dookie forgot the name of the recording studio years ago, but clearly remembers how red-faced she felt when singing "Edmonton" for the first time.
"It was one of my most dreaded songs."
To her relief, the album was pressed, but never released, and Edmonton's unofficial theme song failed to gain any traction with the city.
Laughing, Santos-Dookie said the half-baked ballad had "nothing, nothing at all" to do with the successful career she later enjoyed in the music industry.
At 18, Dookie moved to the Philippines, where she became pop sensation Maxine. Her songs were played on MTV and she worked as a radio DJ and a game show host. There were cameos on network television, A-list friends and tabloid articles.
Burned out and fed up with her fame, Dookie decided to leave the red carpet behind and pursue a career in medicine. She now runs a successful podiatry practice outside Fort Lauderdale.
She enjoys the occasional reminder of her previous life, even if "Edmonton" still makes her cringe.
"It's really funny to see it resurface again so many years later," Dookie said. "It's still embarrassing but I can laugh about it now."